Our false personality
This might sound provocative, but after many years of inner work, I came to the conclusion that what we call our personality is, to a large extent, a trauma response. By that I mean a combination of various survival strategies and coping mechanisms that were once activated for very good reasons, but have remained in place past their point of usefulness.
Unresolved trauma keeps these coping mechanisms and behavioural patterns in place. As time passes and these patterns become habitual, repetitive, and normal, we start calling that our personality. However, this is not who we truly are. Put another way, in the absence of inner work, our personality will mostly consist of the sum of all our defence mechanisms (plus the related fears and beliefs), resulting in a behaviour that is very mechanical and inauthentic, comparable to being on autopilot.
Who are we really?
Both in Jungian psychology and in the IFS model of the mind, we find this idea that at the core of our being, there is this wise, untouched, and undamageable part called the Self. It is like a divine spark that we all carry inside ourselves and that allows us to connect to our true (divine) nature. The goal of therapy is to connect to the Self and let it shine through, so that its wisdom and qualities can become a strong presence in our life. Carl Jung called this process individuation, and IFS practitioners talk about becoming Self-led.
Please be warned, this doesn’t mean that we have to repress or get rid of any part of our psyche, quite the opposite (stay away from any teaching or method that insists you should “get rid of your ego”, or any similar nonsense). It simply means that we have to restructure our system in such a way that all its parts are aware of each other and connected to the Self, with the Self as the central, guiding principle of our psyche.
The path to our Self
In my experience, connecting to our Self is the same as connecting to our heart centre. The qualities that naturally emerge when our heart is open are calmness, clarity, compassion, and the feeling of being connected to everything inside and outside of us. While in that state, we also gain better access to our creativity and intuition, and act with more confidence and courage. In other words, living our life through the Self allows us to be as authentic as we can be.
The problem is that while we are still carrying unresolved trauma, we don’t have full and permanent access to the Self, because it is buried behind layers upon layers of protection mechanisms. The good news is that there are ways to temporarily tap into the Self and bring it to the front (e.g. through grounding or breathing exercises), which then helps us with the trauma work. The other good news is that once the blocks are removed, the Self will naturally come to the surface and show qualities that were, in fact, already inside of us. Unlike what many self-help books are telling you, if you do proper inner work, there is no need to develop or strengthen these qualities through mantras, affirmations, or visualisations. They will simply be there, effortlessly.
To summarise, the more we manage to access the Self, the easier we can work on our traumas, and the more trauma work we do, the better we can express the qualities of the Self and become Self-led. The key is to somehow kick-start this virtuous circle and then stay on track. The process might be slow and difficult at the beginning, but you will soon find that your personality is changing for the better, with an increased sense of calmness, abundance, and safety, and a better ability to feel inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm. Start walking, you won’t regret it! 🔥
If you wish to be accompanied on your journey, don’t hesitate to contact me.